Wedding and adventure in Oahu
It's a special wedding that I share with you today.
More than just a wedding day, it's a multi-day adventure that Jeremie and I had the chance to share with Shy and Rafa in Hawaii.
To introduce you to the bride and groom: she is Hawaiian, he is Mexican. They are both wedding videographers, and live with their animals (cats, dog and parrots) in a motorhome in which they roam California. So when they contacted us for their wedding, we were pleasantly surprised!
They are the kind reserved, and they were divided between the desire to make an elopement or an intimate wedding with their families.
They finally did both! The idea of a "wedding week" has sprouted in their minds where they could spend time with each other, but also with their families.
And the crazy thing is that they wanted us to share all these moments, as if we were part of the group. So here we go for a week with them and for what will be for us, an incredible experience!
To watch the movie (soon to come), it's HERE
Shy and Rafa picked us up at Oahu airport, and we joined their families for the departure to the Tree House. This hillside villa, built in the middle of the forest and well hidden in the vegetation is the wonder in which we will live with 10 people.
We go for a brunch at Haleiwa Joe's, a restaurant with a breathtaking view of the mountains. Then we take the road for a beautiful spot that will discover the Hawaiian coast for the first time to the Rafa's mother (and us too!).
We leave for the Hanauma Bay Reserve. A natural bay formed in an old crater, known for relaxation and snorkling, where you can admire the corals.
Then we finish the day with a picnic on China Wall. A cliff from which the wildest, like Rafa, jump! Just walk around, admire the view, the sunset, and sometimes the few surfers who take the waves is a pure pleasure.
This is the day of their elopement. We get up at 4 am for a hike with Shy and Rafa only. We leave for a mountain climb, and after a lot of effort, the view is spectacular and the sun just rises! This moment, they wanted it intimate and particular. This is the least we can say … After 1 hour, while we are in the session, the rain begins to fall and the wind starts to blow a little stronger. But the magic of Hawaii is that it never lasts long. Just 5 min, the time to appear infront of us, a double rainbow.
We are here all four, and there is a moment of emotion when Rafa tells us that during our ascent, he prayed for rain, a sign of blessing. Wishes raised, and in a beautiful way!
Then we walk towards the edge of the mountain on a path, because Shy and Rafa wish to exchange a few words and especially, make their first dance.
Equipped with a small speaker, we live a moment out of time. The time of a song, in front of this view, they whisper, cry and dance in the wind. I barely don't see anything, I'm so moved by the situation.
Then in a surprise behind which I was the accomplice, Shy goes into hiding to change, puts on a traditional dress belonging to her mother, and begins a hula (Hawaiian dance) for Rafa. She is trembling, but so graceful! We really feel privileged to attend this.
Time to go down (a quite epic descent with the mud that has formed) to join the rest of the family and go to enjoy some fresh fruits, then end the day at the beach, where we could admire a 50 years old giant turtle!
We take the road to the home of Shy's grandfather, where a morning cultural discovery is scheduled.
We discover his plantation of taros, he explains us how it works and here we are the legs in 40 cm of mud, trying not to slip, to cut some taros and replant the stems. Once rinsed in the river, we join Shy's grandfather in his garden. We bring back coconut, and he shows us how to make taro paste to cook with coconut milk.
In the afternoon we leave for a boat trip to Kaneohe Sandbar. It's a sand island in the middle of the sea, which can only be reached by boat. Usually you can walk there, put a lounger and have water up to the ankles. But this time, with the mega wave season approaching, we had water up to the butt.
All around this island, you can swim with turtles. Jeremie will surely show you video, he was lucky enough to come across turtle who wanted to play with him. Diving box in hands, we took the opportunity to be there to make some couple photos in the water. The weather of the day, hyper changing, will have been a challenge!
We all stay at the villa as it's Thanksgiving. Rafa's mother spent the morning preparing Mexican specialties, everyone is having a good time with a cocktail in their hands, laughs, sings … A great-aunt takes the opportunity to offer some gifts to the bride and groom, and a few minutes later the cream of the pumpkin pie will finish in a battle in the kitchen! It floats in the air like a Christmas atmosphere.
This is the day of the official ceremony. We get up at 3 am for the preparations, because the ceremony is scheduled for sunrise, around 6.00. All dressed in white, we leave for the beach where canoes await us. Shy and Rafa while going for their first look, decided to also exchange their vows before joining the rest of the family.
A first double-canoe leaves from the beach with the family, and we go into another with Shy, Rafa, his mother, the grandfather and a cousin, who has a role to play in the ceremony.
Shy lost her dad a few years ago. During our way on the water, she decided to take her ashes and disperse them in the ocean. In the background, the music that passes on the speaker is her dad himself singing. A precious and emotional moment.
You see the green dot on Shy, the halo of the sun? When I showed this picture to Shy, she said "it's a sign of my dad". When thinking again, it still binds my throat.
We stop at what seems to be the middle of the ocean, as it's so beautiful and calm. Behind us only two small deserted islets, to remind us that the land is not far. The ceremony begins and Shy's grandfather is the officiant. Then the cousin begins to sing, with his powerful voice that resounds in silence and imposes respect, then uses a shell and a wooden cane to accompany his song.
Shy and Rafa finally exchange their consent, and in an explosion of joy, jump into the water! Shouts, applause and paddles in the water break the silence, and some family members jump too into the water!
We finally go back to the beach to celebrate the wedding with Champagne. After some hugs and family pictures, it's time for us to say goodbye to the whole family. Shy and Rafa sign their official papers and while the family returns to the villa, it's for us the end of this week spent with them.
We still do some couple photos on the beach, and we go to Waikiki with Shy and Rafa. Everyone goes to his hotel, and we find again at the end of the day for a final step: a meeting at the tattoo shop. Because they didn't want rings, they chose to get a finger tattoo. A mountain sign for Shy, and wave sign for Rafa. After that, it's time to say goodbye, and hopefully see you soon.
We can't thank enough Shy, Rafa and the whole family for having us! We feel lucky and extremely happy to have new friends.